Good Eats & The Daily Show

This week’s a twofer, since last weekend I was in the throes of a flea scare and had diatomaceous earth all over my living room and recording equipment. Mea culpa.

Food Network

Part 1: Good Eats

Alton Brown’s nerd’s-eye-view of a cooking show started off pretty rough, with iffy scripts, cinematography, and editing throughout its initial run. But as it found its footing, season by season, it came to be one of the best-produced and most interesting shows, food-related or otherwise, on television. One aspect firmly in place since day 1, though, was that music – goofy, cheesy, and succinct as hell, the Good Eats theme lets you know what you’re in for as soon as the credits roll. Over the years, the variations on this theme that serve as the show’s incidental music, all performed by Patrick Belden, eventually expanded into a pretty lengthy oeuvre, often employing musical elements from different countries and eras, depending on the dishes explored in a given episode.

“Good Eats” theme written by Patrick Belden.

Comedy Central

Part 2: The Daily Show

As far as I’m concerned, The Daily Show with Jon Stewart *is* The Daily Show, regardless of how well Trevor Noah is doing there, or of the fact that Craig Kilborn was the original host. What started as truly a fake news program – essentially The Onion on TV – became, under Stewart, and especially during the Bush Administration, a sharp-edged political satire, and the brainy, catchy, vaguely punk theme song, supplied by the equally brainy, catchy, vaguely punk They Might Be Giants, was a perfect fit. The group made their own recording to replace the Bob Mould original used from ’96 to ’98, and it stayed until Stewart’s final show in 2015. (They Might Be Giants also provided the theme song for Malcolm in the Middle, an original composition that won them their first Grammy Award.)

“Dog on Fire” written by Bob Mould.

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